Jose Mourinho tasted victory in his first north London derby as Tottenham came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 on Sunday.
Toby Alderweireld’s 81st-minute header claimed a vital three points for Spurs’ European push in their first encounter with their rivals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Alexandre Lacazette’s venomous drive had given Arsenal an early lead but the Gunners’ defensive frailties came back to haunt them as Sead Kolasinac’s error gifted Heung-Min Son the equaliser three minutes later.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rattled the post as Arsenal turned up opportunities to restore their lead before Alderweireld’s strike, but Spurs found a way as Mourinho extended his unbeaten Premier League home record against the Gunners to 10 matches with another vintage tactical display.
The victory lifts Spurs above Arsenal into eight in the table, while Arsenal drop to ninth, two points adrift of their rivals with three games remaining.
Tottenham: Lloris (8), Aurier (6), Sanchez (6), Alderweireld (8), Davies (7), Sissoko (6), Winks (6), Lo Celso (6), Moura (6), Son (8), Kane (6).
Subs: Lamela (n/a), Bergwijn (n/a), Skipp (n/a).
Arsenal: Martinez (8), Mustafi (5), Luiz (6), Kolasinac (5), Bellerin (6), Xhaka (6), Ceballos (8), Tierney (6), Pepe (6), Lacazette (7), Aubameyang (6).
Subs: Saka (5), Cedric (n/a), Nelson (n/a), Willock (n/a).
Man of the Match: Heung-min Son.
How Jose and Spurs found a way
It took Spurs just 30 seconds to register an effort on goal, something they failed to do in 90 minutes against Bournemouth, as Lucas Moura’s drive forced a diving save from Emiliano Martinez.
The Arsenal goalkeeper was called into action on 11 minutes, launching himself high into the air to Harry Kane putting Spurs ahead with a lofted finish.
- Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura and Davison Sanchez were recalled as Spurs made three changes from the draw with Bournemouth.
- Nicolas Pepe replaced Bukayo Saka in Arsenal’s only change from the draw with Leicester.
Kane’s opposite number Aubameyang spurned a glorious chance to hand Arsenal the lead when he swiped at thin air while attempting to convert Hector Bellerin’s centre, but the anguish was momentary thanks to Lacazette, who rammed a thunderbolt past Hugo Lloris into the top corner as the Gunners struck first.
Spurs’ response to the setback was rapid, but they were given a helping hand by a loose Sead Kolasinac pass that left David Luiz helpless and allowed Son to race in on goal and cancel Arsenal’s advantage within three minutes with a chipped finish over Martinez.
Spurs grew in confidence after restoring parity but found Martinez in inspired form as the Gunners stopper smothered Kane’s low shot before tipping a stunning Ben Davies drive from 25 yards onto the crossbar.
Aubameyang whipped a free-kick wide of goal and Nicolas Pepe drew Lloris into a save as Arsenal built momentum before the break, momentum they carried into the second half as the Gunners dominated possession as Spurs sat deep.
Shkodran Mustafi’s ambitious overhead kick was comfortably saved by Lloris but the Spurs goalkeeper could only watch as Aubameyang’s near-post drive rattled the angle of post and bar shortly before the hour.
Having kept Spurs at arm’s length for the duration of the second half, Arsenal almost gifted the hosts the lead as Mustafi’s over-commitment while challenging Kane left the centre-back on the turf, but Martinez bailed him out with a smothering save at the feet of Son before he could convert Kane’s centre.
Aubameyang’s half volley forced a fingertip save from Lloris as Arsenal pushed for a late winner, but they were undone with nine minutes remaining as Alderweireld rose high to head Son’s corner home to maintain Mourinho’s imperious home record against the Gunners.
Opta stats: Mourinho haunts Arsenal again
- Tottenham manager José Mourinho has never lost a home game against Arsenal in his career, winning six and drawing four of his 10 matches to date – against no side has he faced more often at home without ever losing (level with Everton and Man Utd).
- Tottenham (W4 D2) have gone unbeaten in six consecutive home league games against Arsenal for the first time since January 1968 (nine games).
- Mikel Arteta is the first Arsenal manager to lose his first north London derby in the Premier League since Bruce Rioch in November 1995.
- Only West Ham (24) have dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League this season than Arsenal (21).
Man of the Match – Heung-min Son
A goal, an assist and an influential performance in the north London derby. Jose Mourinho couldn’t have asked for more from Son and his role is the wider Spurs game plan proved crucial.
The South Korean was on his toes and alert to haul Spurs level after Arsenal’s opener, taking his tally for the season to 13 – more than any of his team-mates.
And in a game of tight margins, his corner was on the money as Alderweireld clinched victory late on and Son became the first Spurs player to score and assist in a Premier League north London derby since Emmanuel Adebayor in 2012.
Spurs travel to Newcastle on Wednesday at 6pm, host Leicester on Super Sunday at 4pm before concluding their Premier League campaign away at Crystal Palace at 4pm on July 26.
Arsenal host champions Liverpool on Wednesday at 8.15pm, live on Sky Sports, take on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday at 7.45pm, travel to Aston Villa on July 21 at 8.15pm and complete their Premier League season at home to Watford at 4pm on July 26.